Awards get surfers frothing

The "stoke" of stroking into a wave is captured perfectly by Fenna de King.

The inaugural Noosa World Surfing Reserve community awards night is the talk of the beach as nominations flood in.

The awards night and summer party at the Noosa Surf Museum on Saturday 27 November will recognise and pay tribute to Noosa surfers and their families who, as well as excelling in the surf, contribute to their clubs and the community in general, with awardees in 10 categories receiving beautiful photo trophies courtesy of award-winning Noosa-based photographer Paul Smith.

The night will also be a celebration of the start of summer, and the Coral Sea surf season not long after, we hope. Noosa’s favourite surf band, The SandFlys, will provide the live music, with a late set from DJ Carlos to keep the party rolling, a surfboard raffle and surf memorabilia auction as well. Cold beer and full bar courtesy of Boiling Pot Brewing, and delicious street food dinner from Apple Pip Catering.

NWSR president Kirra Molnar and her crew were still sifting through the mountain of nominations as Noosa Today went to press on closing day. We’ll have the full list of finalists on this page next week, but for now here are some highlights.

Community surfer of the year

While longboarder Lennix Currie is a hot contender in the junior male division, two of Noosa’s rising stars of short and longboarding are in the running for the female junior award. Noosa Boardriders Club’s Coco Cairns, 16, recently capped her steady rise through the ranks with the Queensland under 18 girls’ championship for 2021. But the dynamic natural-footer, who evokes memories of an emerging Steph Gilmore with her powerful, flowing style, is also studying surf coaching under Dean Brady with an aim to help other young girls realise their potential. Noosa Malibu Club’s Mia Waite, 14, is nominated not just for her grace and style on a longboard but for her dedication to beach clean-ups, volunteering at club level and her general community spirit. She says: “Whether it’s during competition surfing or free surfing, my respectful nature and leadership always ensures those around me enjoy and appreciate the Noosa World Surfing Reserve as much as I do.”

Culture award

Two projects that have emerged in 2021 with very different but equally impressive approaches to honouring the broad surfing culture are among several in contention for this prestigious award. The Dingira Warrai (dancing on waves) program is a collaboration between Lyndon Davis’s Gubbi Gubbi Dance and Kristy Quirk’s Surf Dancer Academy, with an aim to raise awareness of the First Nations way of doing things, while inspiring young people doing it tough. It’s a complex idea but its realisation is refreshingly simple. Take a bunch of kids to the beach, teach them about connections to land and sea, show them how to dance on both, teach them life skills to get them through.

Noosa Surf Museum, established this year by surfer and businessman Keith Grisman seeks to both record and retell the stories of the pioneers of surfing. Its stated mission is to be the largest private collection in Australia housing a collection of some 800 surfcraft, thousands of periodicals, video footage, artefacts and memorabilia. With a concentrated local focus, the collection spans from the early 1900s to today and comes from all corners of the globe. Keith wants the museum to help explain the culture and ethos of surfing to the broader community, leading to a better understanding of our precious beach and ocean assets.

Photography award

Open to amateur photographers who use their work to inspire and instruct young surfers in the local community, among the first nominations for this award was the ubiquitous Fenna de King, whose beaming smile and long lens can be found wherever good waves are breaking, especially around the points and beach breaks of the Noosa World Surfing Reserve. Fenna, whose photos of Noosa’s world class waves have been shared around the world over the past seven years, is nominated not just for her ability to capture the mood and spirit of surfing in Noosa, but for her willingness to “share the stoke”.

Nominations for the NWSR Community Surf Awards have now closed, but tickets for the event are still available at